40 interesting facts about pets and their owners

The shared history of humans and domesticated animals is full of interesting facts. Expand your horizons with the following forty interesting facts about pets, spanning over centuries.

Let's look back at the ancient past to remember how long the mutual history of the human-animal friendship is.

    1 Almost every culture in the world has its own history of pets. 
    2 The relationship between pets and humans has long been studied by researchers who want to find out more about us, humans.
    3 The English word "pet" originates from the Middle English word "petty", meaning "small".
    4 In the past, the word pet used to refer to people who behaved like a spoiled or whiny child.
    5 Owning a pet used to be a sign of wealth and leisure.
    6 The pet-owner relationship is considered symbiotic because both parties benefit from it.
    7 Almost 85 percent of Americans grew up in a household with a pet.
    8 In the Czech Republic, there are currently 4.5 million households with a pet.
    9 Up to 75 percent of owners celebrate their pet's birthday.
    10 On average, Millennials own more pets than Generation X or Baby Boomers.

The beginnings of domestication: a tomb with a puppy's skeleton

    11 Historians believe that the first domestication took place in the Paleolithic period, also called the Old Stone Age, 2.5 million years ago.  
    12 In Europe, domestication happened 2,000 years later than in Asia.
    13 The dog was the first domesticated animal, being probably the first pet in the history of human civilization.
    14 The oldest proof of the friendship between a dog and a man is the archaeological discovery of a grave with approximately 10,000-year-old human and dog bones.
    15 Horse domestication took place 2,000 years BC. Horses began to be bread in the Middle East to pull carts.

Ancient Egypt: greyhounds versus cats

    16 The most popular dogs of the Egyptians were greyhounds. Frequent depiction of greyhounds in their art is the proof.
    17 Egypt is also known for its boundless and almost fanatic worship of not only pharaohs but also cats.
    18 The Egyptians began storing grains inside buildings in the same century that cats hunting mice were first captured in paintings - 3,000 years BC.
    19 In Egypt, cats were domesticated in the 16th century BC.
    20 Other than cats and dogs, the Egyptians also kept hyenas, lions and monkeys.

Recent history: animal elegy, the first dog show and pet insurance

    21 During the 18th and 19th centuries, the newspapers published elegies of dead British and American pets who died hunting or fighting alongside their owners. There were 6 monkeys, 12 canaries, 17 cats and 53 dogs. 
    22 The historically first American dog show took place in the 1960s. The presenter was the Connecticut congressman and famous circus owner P. T. Barnum.
    23 It was in Sweden, where pet owners were the first in the world to be able to insure their pets. Up to half of the then owners used that opportunity.
    24 The first insured dog in America was Lassie in 1982.

Aquarium fish at the top of the chart

    25 In 1850, Phillip Henry Goose created and named the first aquarium for the London Zoo and pioneered aquarium fish breeding.
    26 In America, aquarium fish are considered the most popular "pet" ever. Up to 142 million can be found in American households.
    27 The often overlooked, yet the most popular in the USA, aquarium fish are followed by dogs and cats.
    28 Other places in the popularity charts are occupied by birds, small mammals, reptiles and horses.

Significant personalities of our history and their exotic pets

    29 Alexander the Great's favourite horse was called Bucephalus.
    30 Pope Leo X had a white elephant for a pet.
    31 Christopher Columbus brought Queen Isabella two parrots from America as pets.
    32 Marquis de Lafayette, the Frenchman who helped America during the American Revolution, had an alligator for a pet.
    33 Frida Kahlo loved pets - she had cats, dogs, parrots, monkeys, but also a doe and an eagle.
    34 Salvador Dalí had a pet bat and a pet ocelot. He can also be often seen in photos with an anteater - Dalí once found his pet bat dead and half-eaten by ants. Since then he hated ants and instead adored their predator. 
    35 Mozart had a rescue starling for a pet. He composed a poem after his pet's death.
    36 Licinius Muraena, a Roman consul, was a passionate moray eel breeder. In his specially equipped period pool at home, he had approximately 6,000 of them. 
    37 Other than birds and horses, Emperor Rudolf II had also a lion in his court, which he received as a gift from the sultan of Turkey. At that time, Prague Castle was a place where you could meet a leopard or a tiger.

Current celebrities and their traditional as well as untraditional pets

    38 The popular singer Beyoncé used to have a python named Fendi.
    39 Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, had a hamster that kept her company during the filming of the famous film series. 
    40 The actress Reese Withersoon, on the other hand, prefers donkeys - she has a pet donkey at home.

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